Cyclists to compete at family event in West Chester
● By J. Chambless
The Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium has been attracting thousands of specators throughout its 13-year history.
On Aug. 11, West Chester will be packed
with fun and excitement with the 14th edition of the Benchmark
Twilight Cycling Classic.
“No other event in the area offers such a diverse array of things to see and do for the entire family. And it’s free,” said Mark Yoder, president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, which is the organizer of the event.
In addition to professional bike racing, visitors will experience an unusual series of tag-team trike racing, children's bike races, an exciting amateur bike race, festival food, shopping, craft beer and more from 3 to 10 p.m.
Children will start the afternoon’s cycling fun at 3:30 p.m. with the West Chester Dental Arts Kids’ Race. This series of age-determined races provides children ages 3 to 10 the opportunity to feel the excitement of competitive cycling, many for the first time. There is no charge to register, but a helmet is required. Everyone receives an official race medal and T-shirt. Registration takes place from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.
Children will have plenty to do in the Kids’ Zone, including giant inflatables, treats, games and other family-focused activities.
“Every year we find ourselves enjoying more and more at this phenomenal community event,” said Rebecca Worthington, vice president of marketing for Benchmark Federal Credit Union, the title sponsor of the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic. “Don’t be surprised to see so many employees of Benchmark Federal Credit Union gearing up their children for the kids’ race, enjoying face painting at our booth in the Community Festival and awarding pro cyclists at the finish line. We know first-hand that there is something for everyone.”
A carnival atmosphere is created by the block-long Community Festival, plus food and giveaways.
Always a crowd-favorite, a series of tag-team trike races finds team after team dashing down Gay Street on adult-sized tricycles. Vctory has its rewards. Not only will the winning team get special bragging rights and have their name engraved on possibly the world’s biggest Trike Trophy, each member will be a VIP guest at the Crit Club located along the race route. Any business, organization or group is invited to test their skills by registering online by Aug. 10.
As part of the Rothman Institute Amateur Trials and Criterium, starting at 8 a.m. at the Bayard Rustin High School campus, USA Cycling-sanctioned bike-racing heats will take place to determine the 125-rider field for the Rothman Institute Amateur Criterium that takes place at 5:45 p.m. There will also be racing heats for Junior Boys and Girls, ages 9 to 18.
From this point on, all eyes turn towards the street. Everyone becomes a cycling enthusiast as the tension ratchets up for the two marquee professional events of the evening. First, the 40K Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium starts at 6:45 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by the 65K Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium, a key race on the USA CRITS Championship calendar before the finals in Atlantic City this September. Racing fans will see top professional male and female riders from all over the country competing in West Chester.
“Over the last 13 years, the Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium and the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium have become two of the most important dates on the pro cycling calendar,” Yoder said. “Whatever your interest, whatever your age, you can count on a really exciting day of racing.”
Details of all the day’s activities can be found at www.GreaterWestChester.com.